Grandparent Visitation Rights

grandparentsIt is not at all uncommon these days for grandparents to play a huge part in the lives of their grandchildren. In fact in many cases, grandparents may play an even more important role in a child’s life then his or her parents. The Georgia Legislature has recognized this reality and passed legislation to protect these important relationships in the form of O.C.G.A.19-7-3.

The law provides that grandparents have the right to file a legal action to intervene in any pending legal action where custody of their minor grandchildren is at issue. When a grandparent intervenes he or she can seek court ordered visitation rights with their grandchildren. These type of cases would be where parties have a divorce pending and a grandparent intervenes in the action to insure he or she has court ordered visitation with their grandchild.

The law also provides that grandparents have the right to file an original petition to seek visitation with their grandchildren. These type of cases would be where the parents of a grandchild are denying visitation to a grandparent and the grandparent files an action seeking to have the Court order that the grandparent be allowed to have regular visitation with the child.

In all of these matters, a grandparent may be granted visitation where the Court finds that the health or welfare of the child would be harmed unless such visitation is granted and if the best interests of the child would be served by such visitation.

grandmother with childThe Court considers many factors in these cases, including the following:

  1. Whether or not the minor child resided with the grandparent for 6 months or more before the grandparent filed the action,
  2. Proof that the grandparent provided financial support for the basic needs of the child for at least 1 year,
  3. Proof that there was an established patter of regular visitation or child care by the grandparent, or
  4. Any other circumstance that would indicate that emotional or physical harm to the grandchild would be reasonably likely to result if such visitation is not granted by the Court.